Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"But he worries about you"

That's what my father-in-law said. I shared my diagnosis of my narcissistic father with my in-laws, and they were mostly supportive and responsive.

My FIL believed me, but then mentioned how my father worries about us so much, so he must care. My father actually called my in-laws several times to find out where we were because we hadn't informed him we were going away for a weekend or something of that sort!

I was taken aback for a second. It's hard to prove to others that this is just about control. Because other people who really care about their kids might actually pull a stunt like that. Or call, or wish to be called, or something.

And then I remembered. I have proof positive that he doesn't worry. That he doesn't care. That he'd just been using it as a means of control for as long as I could remember.

When my first child was a baby, the two of us spent a few days in his apartment in the city. He was away from the country with his girlfriend. My aunt came over and made coffee, then left, without switching off the kitchen aspirator. The same aspirator that he's always bugged me about. That he's always insisted HAD to be switched on even if I was only making tea. It was on for 10 minutes, and the old electric installations in the kitchen caught fire. I noticed a light coming from the cabinets, called the fire department, and got out at once. The firemen were there within a minute. When I went up again, the hallway was black. Scorched. A minute later, and we wouldn't have got out, my 4 month old baby and me. 

So I spent the night at my aunt's and in the morning sms'd him to call me at my aunt's because I needed to tell him something. I wanted to tell him slowly and cautiously, because I thought he was such a worrier about me and, by extension, his granddaughter. I hadn't known about his NPD back then.

So he called and I slowly told the whole story. He asked why he had to call. He said I needn't have worried.

HE WASN'T ANGRY ABOUT THE DAMAGE. It was my aunt's fault, not mine. He didn't blame me, so no problem.

So I said "I thought you'd be worried, that's why I wanted to tell you over the phone" and he sort of CHUCKLED. And that was it.


  1. Wow. I would have freaked out if this happened to my daughter and grandchild...sorry he had no heart:( I also would have cut my vacation short, rushed home to comfort you and see for myself that you're both ok.

    Next, I'd have the best electrician and other building pros check out the apartment for other potential hazards and get them fixed pronto!! Or call the building owner immediately and insist they send a repair man NOW!

    I hear you on how impossible it is to explain our painful relationship with our N "parents" to normal parents. Anytime I tried to, the other person said the usual trite, but well intentioned, phrases and I just felt extremely frustrated, angry and in more pain than before I talked to the person.

    I swear I'd go nuts if the internet blogs and sites for daughters/sons of Ns didn't exist, so I can easily interact with others in my sad situation. Thank you for your blog:D

    Your NF's values are F'd up. Normal parents, like you and I, know you make sure your apartment is safe for your daughter and baby, BEFORE you spend money on luxuries, like vacations.

    Also, I think your NF was just letting you stay in his apartment, so he'd have leverage to get something from you down the road...you know, the usual "N gift" with strings attached non-sense...not love or anything close to love. It's all so sad for you:(

    I wish I could erase the whole memory of the event from your mind, AND ALL THE THOUSANDS LIKE THEM!! Wouldn't that be the best pill EVER invented:D

    Here's a big hug for (((((you))))). Your kids have a very loving mom. Doesn't it feel good to be a mom? All those hugs and smiles and giggles and wonderful memories to hold close to your heart:)

  2. I would have been ecstatic to get "That sounds scary. I'm glad you're both fine. I wish I'd taken care of those installations. Forcing you to always use that aspirator sounds kind of silly now, doesn't it?"

    And not to blame my poor aunt for just doing what he always insisted had to be done. The kitchen aspirator is NOT meant to burst into flames if left on for 10 minutes.

    Letting us stay: he insisted that he wasn't going to rent that apartment out as well, although I suggested that to him, so I could always stay there if I was in the city. But he really seemed to resent me moving back into the city and at one point expected to always have a room available to him in "our" apartment, while he was renting "his" out and keeping all the money. That made me realize that he was keeping "my" apartment for himself in case he broke up with his girlfriend. It had nothing to do with me.

    Thank you so much for your comment. Really sweet of you. :)

  3. This sounds so familiar to me PA. It reminded me of how my NM says she WORRIES so much. My sister likes to make drunk, hysterical phone calls in the middle of the night. It was upsetting my mother and waking her up. She refused to tell my sister that she shouldn't call. So, I suggested that she turns off her phone at night. So, she doesn't worry THAT much. And when she has been on vacation, she won't answer her phone or return calls. The worry only really happens when she's home and lonely and bored. I think she THINKS she's worrying but it's about control and boredom.
    And your father chuckling...well, that's right out of NM's playbook. She loves to chuckle at me like I'm some nervous hen if I suggest something about her worrying or how I wanted to alleviate her worry.
    One other thing, when I was pregnant with my first child, my NM made a HUGE deal about wanting to be called immediately. She made a huge deal about wanting to come down. Well, I had an emergency in the middle of the night, almost died, and had to have a c-section. It was my due date. Do you think NM had her phone on for ME that night, because she was so freaking worried? NO. I knew this and waited until the early morning to text her to call me. I had sent a photo of the baby. Well, when she called and I told her the story, her first snappy remark was "WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL ME!?" Not only was her first concern not my almost death along with the baby's almost death, but my rather my disrespect over not calling her. Even though her phone was off.


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